We all love it, and most of us would say that we in fact need more of it: Sleep! That magical time of night recharges, refreshes, and rejuvenates just about every major process in our bodies. Whether it is processing our thoughts, releasing muscle-building hormones, or preparing your brain’s neural pathways for the next day (to name a few) we can all agree that sleep is critical to our everyday life.
And yet, all too often we hear from both ourselves and those around us that they either didn’t get enough sleep, or they need more in their near future. But how did this happen in the first place? And most importantly, what can we do to improve our sleep and maximize its benefits?
The following are some good tips and ways we can improve those very things!
For starters, a good habit to get into includes limiting your screen time before bedtime. Studies have shown that the blue light emitted from screens such as iPads, iPhones, and television tricks your brain into thinking that it is daytime instead of the evening. This can reduce hormone levels such as melatonin, which are vital for having a relaxing sleep. For those who can’t look away completely, turning down your brightness or even downloading a soft light app is an alternative you can look into as well. Otherwise, cap your screen time before bed and you will be dozing away sooner than you think!
Be mindful of what you drink during certain times of the day! For example, consuming caffeine six hours or less before bedtime can throw off your brain’s ability to shut down for the night. Indeed, as a nervous system stimulant caffeine can impede your body’s ability to naturally relax, especially when you are getting ready for bed. Having decaffeinated coffee or even tea can be a good alternative for when you are craving a flavoured hot beverage later in the evening, or perhaps you can have a small glass of water instead! In short, save your coffee for the morning and you will be well on your way to sleeping better at night.
Another aspect to consider is the environment in which you sleep: is your mattress comfortable? Does your pillow give you adequate support for the natural curve of your neck? For the room itself, it’s also important to consider the light levels coming in from the windows, or even the noise level from anything around you (neighbors below, kids next room over, etc.) and having some earplugs handy just in case you need them. Some studies have shown that when women introduced improved lighting and sound levels to their bedrooms, up to 50% of them noticed improved sleep quality. And in terms of temperature, having a fan or window open when it gets hot is something to consider as well, When in doubt “dark/cool/quiet” are the 3 main factors you need to look for in a sleeping environment.
The last (but perhaps most important factor) in improving your sleep comes from exercise itself! That’s right— your Movimento workouts are for more than just helping you crush your weight and lifestyle goals! For example, in a study of insomniac patients, exercise often helped the participants sleep more than drugs did: Exercise reduced time to fall asleep by 55%, total night awake time by 30%, anxiety by 15%, and increased total sleep time by 18%. The stimulatory effects of exercise allow hormones such as epinephrine and adrenaline to be used naturally when it is needed, instead of possibly lingering or surfacing later. With that in mind, ensure that you are not exercising too late in your day and your body will restore its natural balance with plenty of time to spare!
In the end, we are spending a good third of our day sleeping and recharging for the next day. If you are looking for optimal performance at work, with your family, or even for yourself on the exercise floor, then ensuring you utilize this time effectively is undoubtedly important. Often when you start to examine your habits that tie into sleep, you can usually find a couple of areas in which you can improve your regular routine to make it even better. Start with one or two habits at a time, and before you know it, you’ll be having better and more effective sleep in no time!
If you’re looking to get better sleep and feel better overall, we’re here to help!
Book a no-obligation, no-pressure consultation call with us and find out how we can help improve your sleep and health!